I’ve talked a little about my son Brice before. Though not much, because he’s not that keen on me putting him up on a stage. Imagine that.
I could list the number of things that have been stacked against him, but I’d rather just say how incredibly proud I am of him for overcoming so many of these things (and how grateful I am for Lisa, who has been instrumental in helping him find a path).
He’s worked full-time for more than a year. He’s used his own money to go back to school, where he’s working toward being a pharmacy technician. He has aced nearly every assignment.
And he does all this without me hassling, prodding, or otherwise nagging him. In other words, he’s fully self-motivated.
He’s doing amazing. And now I’d like to ask a very particular subset of my readers to help him get started on the next part of his progress.
Basically, if you have connections (or know someone who has connections) to a pharmacy in Utah County (from Provo to Alpine) or the South part of Salt Lake County (Draper, Sandy, etc.), I’d love it if you’d help Brice with get an inside track on a pharm tech externship, hopefully with a path toward a part- or full-time pharm tech position afterward.
Just email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject line “pharm tech” and I’ll get you a copy of his resume, pronto.
And if you include your name, address, and t-shirt size in the email, I’ll also send you a signed copy of both my books, as well as a Fat Cyclist t-shirt (assuming it’s a legitimate lead, not just a way to grab a couple books and a t-shirt). Regardless of whether it works out or not.
Things are going great. Thanks much for helping them go even greater.
PS: I’m going to be out of town for a few days working on a very cool, very big, Secret Project, so will not be posting again ’til Tuesday.
I don’t want to brag, but my weight loss is going great this winter. In fact, I’ve already lost nine pounds. Which I suppose also means that I’ve gained way more than nine pounds. And also that nine pounds is pretty much the same three pounds I lose every week, then regain over the weekend. For the past three weeks in a row.
I don’t want to brag, but once I just totally walked by a bowl of M&Ms without taking a single one.
I don’t want to brag, but even at age 49.6, I can still fit into the same clothes I wore at age eighteen. Or I assume I could, if I had kept any of the clothes I wore when I was eighteen. Which I didn’t, so there’s no way you could prove this statement wrong.
I don’t want to brag, but it’s been at least ninety minutes since I’ve had a big spoonful of peanut butter.
I don’t want to brag, but even during this exceptionally cold and snowy Utah winter, I’m getting on my bike and riding every single day. OK, I’m not actually going outside to ride. I’m going into my basement and doing TrainerRoad while watching Netflix. But like I said, I’m not bragging.
I don’t want to brag, but about fifteen years ago, a bunch of my friends and I were riding our bikes around in a parking lot after a ride. There was a little curb divider in the lot, and on the other side of the curb, the lot was about eighteen inches lower. Or maybe twelve inches, it’s not important. What is important is that while my friends were watching, I rode up, jumped the curb, and landed it without even falling or squealing in terror. And you can never take that away from me.
I don’t want to brag, but I can look at a person and state, with startling accuracy, what air pressure they should be using in their tubeless mountain bike tires.
I don’t want to brag, but once not so long ago, I accidentally wrote a pun, then wrote “(no pun intended),” and then just went and took out the pun and the quasi-apology. Because puns should be eliminated whenever they’re identified, whether intentional or not.
I don’t want to brag, but I can shave my legs in under four minutes, and it’s been years since I’ve had a razor cut. In fact, I can now shave my legs faster than I can shave my head. To be fair, a big chunk of my head-shaving time is trying to figure out whether I have missed any spots on the back of my head.
I don’t want to brag, but last night I made chilli using turkey burger instead of regular hamburger, and it tasted nearly 40% as good. In fact, some members of my family said it tasted “not completely gross if you smother it with cheese and sour cream.”
And in short, my humility is breathtaking.
Austin McInerny is the guy a lot of us wish we could be. He’s loved mountain biking more or less since there have been mountain bikes.
He’s turned that love into NICA – National Interscholastic Cycling Association — a nonprofit geared toward getting high school kids on mountain bikes. We talk about riding, racing, advocacy, and the incredible consequences of wearing the wrong shoes at the wrong time on this episode of the FattyCast.
Find the FattyCast on iTunes, on Stitcher, my FattyCast RSS feed, or on FattyCast.com. Or you can listen to it / download it below:
Follow NICA on Twitter and Instagram, and be sure to check out their site at http://www.nationalmtb.org.
A Note from Fatty: I love this very funny, self-deprecating 100MoN account from John, a guy who clearly has serious cycling endurance cred. Enjoy
This was to be my third 100 Miles of Nowhere…but I had a problem. On the day of the official 100MoN I was doing 100 miles of somewhere, specifically La Ruta De Los Conquistadores (http://www.adventurerace.com/), one of the most epic rides anywhere!
La Ruta was a fantastic experience on many levels, from great riding, seeing the Costa Rican jungle, and getting to know the terrific country and people of Costa Rica. We covered mud, rivers, relentless climbing (25,000 feet in the first 2 days) and the finale on railroad tracks.
All great fun, something I would recommend to any adventure-minded cyclist who likes to climb (I’m looking at you Fatty), but definitely not Nowhere: The race cross the entire country from the Pacific to the Caribbean coast.
I came back to Colorado and there was the 100MoN goodie box, staring at me accusingly.
“Sure you had your fun,” the stare said, “but how could you wear this super-cool T-shirt without earning it?” That would be stolen valor, a grievous sin to a Marine like myself.
Still, it was now cold and my motivation to break the trainer out of the back room was…low. I had just finished my season! My first race had been in April and I had been in training since about February. So sitting in the pain cave was not an option.
I decided to head to the gym and settle in for some college football and knock it out. I had hopes of finding one of those bikes with the skewed speedometer that showed you averaging 28-30 MPH at a conversational pace. Certain my plan was a good one, I headed out one Saturday morning to go Nowhere.
This was where the insidious nature of the swag kit revealed itself. To support me for what I was now certain would be only about 3 hours, I grabbed gels and some of the snacks from the swag kit, also headphones, my iPad in case the game(s) sucked, a water bottle and more. This could be a handful and there was the musette bag – another great addition to my plan! I dumped all and sundry into the musette, put on my cycling kit and shoes and clopped out to the gym floor.
Marine Wears Man-Purse, Rides Indoor Recumbent, Feels Self-Concious
On my way out I passed the mirror and realized – FATTY HAD SUCKERED ME INTO CARRYING A PURSE! Sure, I knew it was very ‘pro’ to have a musette, but to everybody else I was a dude with a murse.
My ego and self-esteem punctured, I headed to the rows of cardio machines and realized my shame was only going to get worse. The half-dozen or so Spin bikes were all taken, as were the dozen or so LifeCycles with their semi-respectable upright position; my only option was…a recumbent.
Only a week ago I was a proud finisher of ‘The toughest mountain bike race on the Planet.’ Now…I was on a recumbent, carrying a man-bag, sitting next to wheezing geriatrics.
I could only hope not to be recognized.
I settled in, arranged my purse and started flipping through the dozen channels available on the attached monitor. I found a game, adjusted my headphones and popped open the ‘workout’ screen looking for the highest possible speed. I don’t ride these bikes much anymore, but in the past I remember seeing irrational speeds like ’28 MPH’ over decent workouts.
On my particular steed for the day, this was not the case.
My comfortable pace was only generating about 14 MPH, I played around with resistance levels, cadence and was disappointed to find the best I was going to do on this machine was maybe 17MPH. No Joy…
Grim faced, I pedaled on, avoiding eye contact and occasionally reaching into my purse for a treat.
I got through the second half of the game, flipped open my iPad and dialed up an episode of Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch (a really excellent series!), that usually run a bit more than an hour. I did manage to move to an upright bike for this portion, and the pace picked up maybe 1 MPH, and my dignity got a bit of a boost from sitting on a bike like I meant it, despite the little black purse hanging from my handlebars.
As Sherlock once again bested Moriarty, I hopped off to go refill my water bottles and check for a suitcase of courage. Finding water —but no courage — I returned to my steed trying to convince myself to get back on. With a clammy shirt, a few empty gel and chew wrappers accurately representing my energy levels, I knew I was done for the day.
I resolved to return on the morrow to complete the task, and took note of my combined stats: 3 ½ hours, 56 miles. Tomorrow I would certainly find the fabled ‘fast bike’ and polish of my 100MoN Century.
OK, so I didn’t make it back the next day, but I seriously considered it.
It was actually a week before I went back to the gym. Still smarting from the purse incident, I considered my options to carry my necessities. I considered brining my gym bag to the floor with me, but it is a nasty thing at this stage of its life, misshapen with non-functional zippers, odd stains and straps stiffly protruding at odd angles.
That would not improve my image or self-respect.
I similarly considered and discarded the ideas of: high-jacking one of my kids’ school backpacks, a grocery bag or my bare hands – before once again electing to sling my man-bag over my shoulder.
Stage 2 of my 100 MON was not terribly different from the first, though I had an earlier start, and my choice of bikes. The retired Schwinn SPIN bikes (from a simpler era, before the cycling studio added computerized ‘bikes’) looked fast and had a proper saddle on them, but no TV screen and didn’t even have a real odometer on them.
I went back to the upright LifeCycles and chose a different one than last week, praying for a loose speedometer. Sadly, this one seemed as reluctant as the last, settling in at a mulish 17.5 MPH. My personal batteries had recharged a bit more from La Ruta, and in the interests of finishing sooner, I made intervals out of the TV commercials during the game and pushed over 20 MPH for those frequent 2 minute intervals.
So another 2 ½ hours or so and I had my additional 44 miles in. The interesting thing was, that while I have done many 4, 5 & 6 hour solo rides, this ride in a public place felt lonelier than any of them. People came and went next to me over the course of the 6 hours or so of riding, but few even said hello.I’d see friends bump into each other around the gym, sometimes leaning against a machine for a good long chin-wag for 20-30 minutes, so it is a friendly place overall – but no one I knew happened by, nobody was curious about my pile of towels or man-bag, no questions about the 100MoN paraphernalia I had with me. I’ve read lonelier sounding 100MoN stories (the guys who did it on an aircraft carrier comes to mind), but I expected a bustling gym to be a little more engaging than a trainer in the basement.
So – it was great to help Camp Kesem, I was able to get back on a bike when most of my La Ruta buddies had still not even unboxed their sleds and I could finally pull on that cool T-Shirt with a clean conscience.
I don’t think I can claim first place in some obscure indoor-recumbent category, and breaking this into 2 indoor sessions in front of a TV screen doesn’t qualify me for any hardman points – but I did avoid the DNF tag…even if it took me a week.
Thanks for keeping a strangely compelling event rolling, Fatty!
A “Hey, Take One Minute to Answer a Ten-Year-Old’s Science Project Survey” Note from Fatty: A reader’s daughter is conducting a survey on insulated water bottles as part of her science project for school. I think we should help give her a ton of data to work with. Whether you use insulated water bottles or not (she needs data from both types of people), click here to take her survey. It will take about a minute, and for sure no more than two. Honest.
A “Read That Before This” Note from Fatty: This is the third installment of my Interlaken 100 Ride Report. If you haven’t read part 1 and part 2 before you read this part, you should.
We were seventy miles into the Interlaken 100, and had just refueled. With a fifteen minute rest in our legs and only thirty miles left in this century, you’d think we’d be eager to fly to the finish line.
But that wasn’t how it was.
Twenty minutes of fierce head/crosswind had left The Hammer and me pretty much demolished. And now we knew we had more of the same wind in front of us, not to mention the second significant climb of the day coming up soon.
So as we left the park, we did so with an acute lack of alacrity.
But then, within a few hundred feet, something wonderful happened.
Or rather, two wonderful things.
Or rather, two wonderful people.
Specifically: two large, strong men, on bicycles, who were both willing and able to work with us.
Train of Awesome
To be honest, I was confused by the appearance of these two very strong riders. After all, The Hammer and I had been riding alone for the past fifty miles. We hadn’t seen anyone behind us that entire time, and if we had known these guys were nearby, we certainly would have joined up with them sooner.
But that’s the thing about smallish groups and big rides. You get spread out pretty early, and then you look around and think you’re all alone, even though there’s probably someone two minutes ahead of you or two minutes behind you.
In this case, I’m pretty sure that these two big guys must have been two minutes behind us when we got to the 70-mile aid station. But these two guys guys were smart big guys, and so when they saw we were leaving, got their stuff together really quickly and caught up to us, making it so everyone had to be in front only half as often.
And suddenly, the outrageous difficulty of this cross/headwind became completely manageable, and the ride started being fun again.
I don’t know these guys’ names (I hope they somehow see their picture above, recognize themselves, and say hi), but my eyes still well up a little bit at the transformative effect they had on our ride.
A pooling of forces can be such a wonderful thing.
Together, the four of us made short work of the final ten miles in the flat part of the Interlaken 100. Which brought us to the eighty-mile mark in this race. I mean ride. Just twenty miles to go, seven of which (miles 80-87) would be up. Not radically up — 700 feet in seven miles isn’t outrageously steep.
But make no mistake: it is up.
And before long, the two big guys moved to the back, with The Hammer and me just taking turns with the pulling. Then one of them dropped off. Then the other dropped off.
The Hammer and I talked about slowing down so we could pick these guys up again. And then we even tried to do it. But there’s a weird thing about being eighty-five miles into a hundred-mile race. You’ve been going so long that your level of effort has become involuntary. You go the effort you can go, and you can no more let off the gas by five percent than you can step up your pace by five percent.
We could no more pick those guys up than they could ride up to us.
But I still felt (and still feel) bad about the inequity of it all. Big guys can certainly help little guys be faster at what big guys are good at (going fast on flats, punching holes in the wind).
But little guys can’t help big guys be faster at what little guys are good at (going up hills).
Basically, because of my height I’ve been the recipient of a lot more cycling help than I will ever give.
It’s just not fair.
Finishing (Not) Strong
The Hammer and I made it to mile 87 — the summit of the last climb, leading to a steep, fast descent, and then eight dead-flat miles along the shore of Bear Lake to a park.
I thought all the hard part was behind us.
But it wasn’t.
Sure, the descent was fun, but when we got to the lake and the final should-be-easy seven miles of the ride, something happened. Specifically, my power gave out before the ride ended.
I had nothing left. At all. I was cooked. Smoked. Done.
I had one option if I wanted to finish this ride, and one option only: tuck in behind The Hammer and ask her to not go very fast. Which is precisely what I did.
For a guy who takes pride in his power and endurance, that’s a pretty humble way to finish a ride.
But we did. And at exactly 100.0 miles (so weird), there was the park and a volunteer waving us into it.
Even through my bonk, I managed to say to The Hammer, “That’s funny. I’m so conditioned to hundred-mile rides never being exactly 100 miles that I wasn’t even bothering to look for a finish line right now.”
There’s something wonderful and rare about not having anything to do. Maybe that’s one of the things that draws me to big rides: I know that afterward, I have permission to be completely and utterly lazy.
Which is to say, The Hammer and I just laid on the grass, eating the sandwiches we had taken at the seventy-mile mark of the ride.
Relaxing is awesome.
Of course, now we had a problem: how were we going to get ourselves and our bikes the hundred miles back to where the Interlaken started?
No, I’m just kidding, that was no problem at all. The organizers had arranged for big vans to take us and our bikes back to the beginning.
During which I sometimes idly looked out the window, and sometimes napped.
And for that reason — among many others — I hereby declare the Interlaken 100 to be a wonderful event.
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